I think i am having an emotional affair with my supervisor and i need some advice. I am a single lady being supervised by a married attractive man (with kids). I have always thought he was attractive but never had it crossed my mind that anything could happen between us because i draw the line when it comes to married men and of course he's my sup. However we have grown really close during the course of my program so far and he tells me almost everything. One day he burst my bubble of all i thought about him when he tried to kiss me after hugging me so closely. I explained to him that i cant have a relationship with a married man , that there was no future in it. It seemed as though he understood for a while because he didn't pressure me or make advances, until recently when he started explaining about things not being ok with his wife and how his marriage was just together for the kids. Anytime i offend him, he takes it so personal and then recently he tells me he loves me that i have been sending him signals as if i do too, i told him i don't which isn't true because i have grown to really like him so much, maybe it's love.
The long and short is i still have some 2 to 3 years to work with this man, and he is still attracted to me. Maybe i shouldn't have listened to him tell me everything about his life even things i would normally be judgemental about but he is my supervisor i dare not be. Lately i offended him again and he said he would go back to relating with me professionally that i would prefer it rather than him being close to me, kind of threatening to cut me off from his personal life. Perhaps that may just be what i need to sort out this situation.
I need advice please, if you have more questions i'll answer.
Do you think you can continue work professionally with him (without emotional involvement)? If it were me, I would ask myself this question. At the end of the day, you are human as ever, and since he is attractive etc, you might start having feelings for him and they'll only go deeper and deeper.
if you can truly work outside emotional involvement and the PHD means so much to you, and you can't change supervisor, then ok continue.
If not, get out of this environment before you get stuck in the mud.
Wishing you all the best, lady-to-lady
Honestly, I think you're being manipulated. I don't think he loves you and the way he is making you feel is very unfair. If I were you, I would confide in another faculty member and see what you should do. I wouldn't be surprised if you were not the first student that he has had a relationship with...
Last thought - you are not offending him, he is telling you that to make you feel guilty. It's text book manipulation.
Oh boy, what a mess.
I would suggest you don't go there given two very similar stories I know of from the past, which didn't end well. One was a senior female, who had a relationship with a male student. Another was a lesbian staff / student relationship.
In both cases the relationship was discovered, the former in spectacular fashion when said couple were caught in flagrante and in full throws of passion. In both cases, the senior partner in the relationship was encouraged to leave quietly or face full disciplinary proceedings for abuse of position.
In the former case, I believe the male student was allowed to complete his studies, however, was expected to leave once his studies were complete. I don't know what happened in the latter case, though again an uncomfortable time would no doubt be had by said young lady.
Put simply, the damage to both member of staff and student was heavy, in that the staff member lost their job and the student had no future at said establishment.
If you do embark on an affair with your supervisor, be very aware of the consequences and not just the potential professional damage. In both the examples I quote, the senior player in the relationship was single. In your case, it would be a married man. It is thus just not you and him, but also his wife and family.
I personally would look if possible to break ties with your supervisor as sooner or later, your mutual feelings will again flare into view with so long to go. If there's someone else who can supervise you, I'd look to move on to be honest. If after that a relationship does happen, then at least you're no longer supervisor and student.
Whilst it is of course your decision what you do please bear in mind that like Ian has stated these things really do not generally end well.
A similar post a few months ago appeared and the advice was along the lines of what is being said here.
I think its very important that you give consideration to the fact that the academic community of any field is generally a small one and unflattering reputations can be extremely damaging! If you are even THOUGHT of as having an overly familiar relationship with a supervisor (whether it is true or not) you will lose the respect of people around you. People will also start to undervalue your work as they will think that any success you have is due to favouritism by your supervisor, I am not saying this to demonise you in any way - I am saying this merely because I have seen it before and like Ian say it just doesn't end well.
Overall I think you may need to change supervisor - you need to speak to someone in your department to arrange this (you won't be the first student to do this!). This guy is married and doesn't sound like he has a great deal of respect for his wife - the mother of his children - so really why would he treat you better?
Please remove yourself from the situation and keep your self respect and dignity. I wish you the best.
Clearly changing supervisor is a distinct option, though I'm sure there will be blowback taking this route. You will probably have to change your topic and start again. Also this process of changing supervisors may cause you to suffer reputation harm within the department - he seems to be taking your rejection pretty personally at the moment, so when you start filing the paperwork he may turn against you and close ranks. He may be worried that once you switch supervisors, the word is going to get out and he will land himself in hot waters. It's actually in his best interest to keep you as a student under him as long as you don't blow the whistle.
If you want resolution with minimal blowback, there may be a way to settle all this tension without resorting to a switch in supervision. But you have to act tactfully. Be amicable and respectful, but drop hints like you have a boyfriend to see if he backs off a little. Bring your best guy friend along to functions. Take a break so you stop seeing him for a while. Use emails instead to seeing him directly. Whatever you do don't humiliate him or insult him. Don't confront his wife. Keep dropping these hints that you're not interested without confronting him directly, until he realises it is in his best interest to back down and keep things professional at all times.
All this being said, you seem to like him quite a bit. You need to sort out your own feelings before you can decide on any of the above. My personal advice is, use your head not your heart. He is in a position of authority over you and he is misusing it - are you truly in love with him or his authority over you? Just because you may have feelings for him, Is it ok to act on your attraction in this situation? You will be responsible for wrecking his marriage; you may not mean anything to him other hand an escape from wife.
Aside from the raised eyebrow at the choice of name, I agree with the others in that you need to take a huge step back. This can and will affect your professionalism, and you will not be taken seriously in the academic world should you choose to continue in this fashion. It is highly likely that he might receive a slap on the wrist for bad behaviour, but this will follow you and will be detrimental to your career, especially as a young women your work will automatically be undervalued until you 'prove yourself' in the boys club that is academia. This will only work to exemplify this.
Others have suggested 'tactful' ways to handle this situation. I disagree. If you are willing to be part of a breakup of a marriage/ruin your career then go for it. But if you value your career, you should go to HR or another faculty member that you can trust and explain the situation. This is, a high abuse of power on his end, it falls under the category of sexual harassment even if you are attracted to him due to your professor/student relationship, and he is absolutely crossing the line regarding the student/supervisor relationship. He is meant to evaluate your work and mentor you academically, but he is under no circumstance suppose to be confiding personal details of his life with you.
My supervisors kept their professionalism throughout my degree, and after I had passed, that relationship did change to good friendships. But they had to wait until I was no longer their student for this to occur.
You are caught in a tide of emotions and this makes this even harder. You need to switch supervisors if you can.
On a lighter note, perhaps we could hear more on this ;)
Apologies to all, and thanks for that awsoci. I was being deliberately cretinous, but with no intention to offend anyone here!
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